You’ve made the decision to work in education, so you’ll want to get started with an internship. Here’s a look at the 5 best internships for education majors and best practices for applying.
While you wouldn’t want to walk into any career blindly, teaching is a field where practical experience will really be of service to both you and your students before jumping into a classroom as a teacher or into an institution as an administrator. That’s why getting an internship for education majors is so important.
Internships can help you put the skills you’ve learned in school to the test, so to speak, and also boost your resume for when you graduate and are ready to start teaching.
Furthermore, because schools are institutions that operate much like businesses, it’s always useful to get your foot in the door to establish connections and network for future opportunities.
Teaching internships provide an avenue for you to help others, give back, and potentially gain mentors through the process. It’s clear why internships for education majors are important, so let’s take a look at some best practices to land an internship followed by some of the best internships for education majors.
When to Apply
Getting a teaching internship is somewhat different from other types of internships because of requirements and certification. Student teachers and credentialed interns often have a list of requirements to meet before they can enter a classroom. For example, some universities have a major GPA requirement as well as a number of units that must be completed before interning as a teacher. Additionally, on a state-by-state and school-by-school basis, you may be required to provide a credential before being able to teach, especially in public institutions.
Therefore, a universal tip for applying to an education internship is to research early and find out from your school, as well as the school you want to intern with, what they ask for in order to be eligible for an internship. As the saying goes, “the earlier, the better.”
If you’re interested in working in policy or administration, you won’t need a credential, but some organizations will want you to have completed some units of education first.
What to Look For
There are many options when it comes to education internships. For starters, are you interested in teaching or working in administration? Once you narrow down the type of career you want to have within the field, you also have to consider whether you want to work in a private or public institution. Furthermore, because every institution varies, you want to take into consideration the certifications necessary for said institutions, along with the varying pay.
To give you an idea of what you can expect, the national average salary for teacher interns in America is reported at $38,394 a year in 2019. In terms of working for non-profits, you will find both paid and unpaid internships, as well as programs where you may have to put in money to work abroad to teach or help shape policy.
5 Internships for Education Majors
1. Government Internships
In education, you have the option to work for the government. In America, that would mean getting an internship with the U.S. Department of Education which is based in Washington D.C.
In the U.K., that would mean an internship with the Department for Education (DfE). Depending on the country you want to work in, you can research the government organization that manages education to see if internships are available.
Government internships in education are especially great for someone who wants to be involved in policy and administration. Of course, these will offer very different experiences than working in a classroom directly with children, but they will allow for you to be a part of decision-making and policies that will affect education within your country.
2. Primary or Secondary School Internship
Perhaps you’d rather work within a school setting and interact with both the students and administration alike. Opportunities are available within primary and secondary schools to intern either through a teacher internship or to work with the administration. If you choose to work in administration, you’ll likely manage some clerical duties and may have the option to sit in on meetings and contribute solutions to problems.
Many schools that offer teacher internships will require some sort of credential or a minimum number of units passed, so again, it’s useful to be in touch directly with the administration in the institutions you’d like to collaborate with so that you can meet all necessary requirements and be eligible for an internship. Some schools will place teaching interns as assistants to tenured teachers, which will offer a really great experience for both individuals as they can learn from one another.
3. Non-Profit Internship
Another good option for education majors is to intern with education-related non-profits, youth homes, or online education platforms. These organizations are always seeking interns to help with everything big to small.
Internships of this kind will offer you skills that complement what you learn within the classroom that will transfer to all jobs in education. Such skills include time management, organization, budget allocation and unique problem-solving skills. For those who want to teach, there are non-profit organizations dedicated to providing teaching opportunities around the world, like Americorps or World Teach.
4. University Internships
Education majors also have the option to work on university campuses. Universities, much like corporations, are usually divided into many administrative departments which means there are multiple options for internships on a campus, ranging from the financial offices to the student affairs departments. These internships can either be administrative or research-based.
5. Public Policy Research Institution Internships
Public policy helps to bridge the gap between the community and government to create actions and laws that serve the common interest of a society. When it comes to education, policy dictates much of what students experience day in and day out, so if you’re looking to make a change in education on the whole, public policy research institutions are a good place to start.
In these roles, you can work within community service and education to assist with current policies, and sometimes, even have the opportunity to apply with your own policy initiative.
Job Outlook for Education
Globally, the demand for teachers is high and continuously growing. In fact, the supply of teachers is not keeping up with the demand. For example, according to UNESCO, in order to meet the students’ needs and provide quality education worldwide by 2030, countries must recruit nearly 70 million teachers for primary and secondary education alone.
Furthermore, in America, the shortage of teachers continues to worsen. The reasons differ but it is most commonly urban centers and rural areas where teachers are needed the most. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, kindergarten and elementary school teachers have job growth prospects of 6% from 2014 to 2024.
These statistics offer a glimpse of insight as to why earning a degree in education today will provide for a better future tomorrow and help fill the supply and demand gap that continues to widen.
Internship Opportunities Abroad
Since education is global, there are options to get an internship abroad in education so that you can have an experience of a lifetime while still boosting your career prospects.
For example, there are many organizations that go to regions around the world offering a way for education majors to work directly with students or to help affect policy in global regions.
Let’s take a look at some organizations by location.
Thailand, South Korea and China
- World Endeavors: Work in primary or secondary schools in England or in Nice or Paris, France
- Spain Internship: Work in education in Spain
- MaximoNivel: Intern in education in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru
- Eli Abroad: Teach children in multiple subjects in low-income neighborhoods of Argentina
This list is, of course, very abbreviated as there are an incredible amount of internship opportunities abroad with non-profit organizations, online programs, corporations and governments in your country of choice.
Take the First Step to Have a Global Impact
When you choose to become a teacher, you are inherently choosing to make the difference in the lives of many people. The difference of education undoubtedly creates a global impact.
Starting with an internship will offer you insight as to how a classroom functions, how an institution is set up to meet the needs of staff and students, how policies are designed to support schools, and how education is a huge factor to consider when it comes to the overall functioning of a country and economy.
On a personal level, an internship will help you hone the skills you’ve studied, as well as grant you opportunities to network with people and connect with mentors that will have a lasting effect on your future career.